Up 2-0 at the break, Rogue Valley Timbers 99G Red girls coach Kevin Primerano had one last piece of advice before sending his team out for the second half: “Play like we’re four goals down.”
Heaven help the next team that takes a four-goal lead on the Timbers.
Meghan Michels and Sandra Villa Juarez scored in the first half before the Timbers exploded for four goals in the first 15 minutes of the second to run away with its second straight U19 Rogue Memorial Challenge Cascade championship with a 6-0 victory over Oregon Futbol Academy 00G Monday at U.S. Cellular Community Park.
The Timbers and Grants Pass-based Oregon Futbol Academy played to a 2-2 draw in a pool-play match Sunday evening to set the stage for what was expected to be a competitive final, but the Timbers had their own expectations.
“(Sunday’s result) was definitely motivation for today,” said Timbers center midfielder Courtney Herick. “I think it helped put a little fire under us ... and really show just them what we were made of.”
In other Memorial Challenge action Monday, the Rogue Valley Timbers 99B Red squad trounced NCU Manchester United B99, 3-0, to claim the boys U19 Cascade title.
The U19 girls final was even more lopsided.
After a sluggish start the Timbers cranked up their tenacity and never let up, routing the visitors in both ball possession and dynamic combinations. They out-shot OFA only 14-12 overall, but they had a 10-4 advantage in on-goal attempts and, with the likes of Michels, Juarez and Whitney Winans, made far better use of those opportunities.
Michels scored what turned out to be the only goal the Timbers would need barely 20 minutes into the game, connecting from inside the box after collecting a perfect through ball from Winans.
About seven minutes later OFA’s keeper couldn’t grab a failed clearance after a long Timbers throw in toward the box and Juarez swooped in for the follow to give her team a 2-0 lead.
The Timbers, who outscored their four Memorial Challenge opponents 18-3, put the game away early in the second half, connecting on their first four shot attempts to all but lock up the repeat.
Madelynn Wheelock got them started less than two minutes into the start of the second half, juking her way past two OFA defenders before beating the keeper with a spectacular left-footed blast. Her hard, high shot ricocheted off the crossbar but was just low enough to bounce past the line and into the back of the net for a 3-0 Timbers lead.
Five minutes later the Timbers executed their best combo of the day. Turning defense into quick offense, they caught OFA off guard as Primerano shouted from the sideline, “We got five on three, come on.”
They didn’t waste it. First, Michels dished to the right wing to streaking Wheelock, who sent a cross clear on the other side of the field to Sara Klott, whose one-touch strike from just inside the box sent the fans and the Timbers sideline into a frenzy.
“We had four different goal-scorers, assists coming from everywhere,” Primerano said. “I don’t know that I can pinpoint one player. I think it was a complete team effort from the back to the front. The goalies came up big when they had to, the defense played great, the midfield played great and we finished our chances. We were lethal.”
Klott, one of four players who were playing their last Memorial Challenge for the U19 club (Herick, Hayle Mehl and Courtney Denn were the others), said the Timbers changed their approach after Sunday’s tie. That seemed to do the trick, she said.
“I think we just tried to calm down with the ball a little bit more and tried to kind of pass it around more because we knew we’ve been working out for a lot longer (than OFA) and we felt we could run them down first,” she said.
Winans scored the last two goals for the Timbers off assists by Michels in the 47th and 50th minutes. Michels set up both by delivering picture-perfect crosses into the box, and Winans powered the first high into the net and the second low for the final score.
After wrapping up the win and hustling off U.S. Cellular’s well-baked Field 10 — the game-time temperature was about 85 degrees, but the temperature on the turf exceeded that by at least 10 degrees — the Timbers reconvened just outside the north end zone for a little postgame celebration. Primerano handed out medals and gave a speech, praising the “seniors.”
“I have never seen anybody so small play so big,” he said of Mehl.
Some of the players held up three fingers for “three-peat” while posing for pics — a nod to the back-to-back U19 titles in addition to another won by many of the same players two years ago.
When asked why the group has been so successful, Primerano, who coached the U19 Timbers last year, too, said it goes way beyond the players’ physical talents.
“I tell these girls all the time that I love this team and as I talk to college coaches about them one of the phrases I use is that it’s a high-character group,” he said. “They have integrity, they have a work ethic, they’re extraordinarily smart and they have a desire to win. They’re just great kids.”
U10 — Cascade Final: 4-H McMinnville United B08 4, Upper Rogue United Futbol Eagles B08 Green 1; Cascade 3rd-4th: Basin United B08 Phantoms 7, Eugene Timbers FC 09B Napoli Black 0. Sierra Final: Ashland Speckled Cows 3, Eel River Valley Youth Soccer Rapids B08 2; Sierra 3rd-4th: North State Soccer Kaos Rebels 08 7, Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 08B Red 2. Siskiyou Final: NCU Corning FC B08 5, River Premier River B08 24K 3; Siskiyou 3rd-4th: OFA 08B Azul 4, Upper Rogue United Futbol Eagles B08 Black 1.
U11 — Cascade Final: OFA 07B Azul 3, Ashland U11B 2; Cascade 3rd-4th: Eugene Timbers FC 08B Sevilla Black 3, Spanish Springs SC Jaguars 07 0. Siskiyou Final: NCU Warriors FC B07 2, Humboldt B07 1; Siskiyou 3rd-4th: Basin United B07 Octane 1, OFA 07B Blanco 0.
U12 — Cascade/Siskiyou Playoffs: Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 06B Red 7, 4-H McMinnville United 3; North State Soccer Kaos Titans 06 3, TFA Willamette 06B 1. Cascade/Siskiyou 3rd-4th: OFA 06B Azul 1, SOSA Flaming Chihuahuas 0; Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 06B White 5, GC United Soccer B06 0. Sierra Final: River Premier Monaco B06 8, Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 06B Black 1; Sierra 3rd-4th: Great Basin YSL Reno Earthquakes B06 10, MSYSL MS United B06 0.
U13 — Cascade Final: Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 05B Red 4, AC United Ambush 2; Cascade 3rd-4th: OFA 05B Azul 1, Table Rock SC 05B Reign 0. Siskiyou/Sierra Finals: Upper Rogue United Futbol Eagles B05 4, Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 05B White 0; NCU Orland United B05 8, SOSA Tofu Ninjas 0. Siskiyou/Sierra 3rd-4th: Spanish Springs SC Jaguars 05 3, Umpqua United 05B 1; NCU Barcelona B05 5, Basin United B05 Spartans 1.
U14 — Final: NCU Orland FC B04 4, NCU Revolution B04 1; 3rd-4th: River Premier B04 5, Humboldt B04 Fire 0.
U15 — Cascade Final: GPS Oregon 03B 2, Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 03B Red 0; Cascade 3rd-4th: 4-H Chelsea Pedro B03 5, SOSA Pirates B03 1. Siskiyou/Sierra Finals: North State Soccer Kaos Warriors 03 3, North State Soccer Kaos United 03 0; Brookings Bruins B03 3, NCU Chivas B03 2; Siskiyou/Sierra 3rd-4th: Yreka United B03 12, Umpqua United 03B 2; Basin United B04 Blaze 5, Upper Rogue United Futbol Eagles B03 3.
U16 — Final: River Premier B02 4, Upper Rogue United Futbol Eagles B02 1; 3rd-4th: NCU Milan B02 2, 4-H Northside B02 1.
U17 — Final: Players SC North 01 YP 3, Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 01B Red 2; 3rd-4th: OFA 01B Azul 2, Ashland MUFC Mutiny 0.
U19 — Cascade Final: Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 99B Red 3, NCU Manchester United B99 0; Cascade 3rd-4th: Medford United Futbol Galaxy B99 4, North State Soccer Kaos Rampage 00 2. Siskiyou Final: OFA 99B Azul 1, Basin United B99 Pumas 0; Siskiyou 3rd-4th: Galt FC United B99 4, Umpqua United 99B 3.
U10 — Final: NCU Nightmares G08 3, North State Soccer Missfits Crazy 085-Black 2; 3rd-4th: OFA 08G Gris 7, Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 08G Red 0.
U11 — Final: Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 07G Red 3, Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 07G White 1; GC United Soccer G07 6, OFA 07G Rebels 5.
U12 — Cascade Final: CYSA Timber Barons G06 Anderson 4, OFA 06G Azul 3; Cascade 3rd-4th: Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 06G Red 4, Sosa Dark Night 0. Siskiyou Final: NCU Pumas G06 3, Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 06G White 1; Siskiyou 3rd-4th: Spanish Springs SC Lady Jaguars 06 White 2, SJSC Nevada United 06 Girls White 1.
U13 — Cascade Final: South Tahoe FC Reno Breakers U13 1, North State Soccer Missfits Shockers 05 0; Cascade 3rd-4th: Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 05G Red 5, Great Basin YSL SS Wolves G05 0. Siskiyou Final: RBYSL Fury United 3, Spanish Springs SC Lady Jaguars 05 1; Siskiyou 3rd-4th: Umpqua United 05G 3, Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 05G Black 1.
U14 — Cascade Final: North State Soccer Missfits Moxie 04 2, Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 04G Red 0; Cascade 3rd-4th: OFA 04G Azul 3, Spanish Springs SC Lady Jaguars 04 1. Siskiyou Final: NCU Ambush G04 2, Basin United 04G Fury 1; Siskiyou 3rd-4th: Clackamas United U14 Arsenal 2, Southeast Soccer Swifts 1.
U15 — Finals: WAFC Storm 3, THUSC Emerald 2; United PDX 03G 5, FME Fusion G03 0. 3rd-4th: Basin United 03G Fury 3, Ashland Cross Fire 03G 0; AC United Fire 03 3, SJSC Nevada United 03 Girls Blue 0.
U16 — Cascade Final: South Tahoe FC Breakers 02/03 2, North State Soccer Missfits Mavericks 02 0; Cascade 3rd-4th: AC United Freedom 1, Kidsports McKenzie Strykers 0. Siskiyou Final: SjSC Nevada United 02 Girls Blue 1, Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 02G White 0; Siskiyou 3rd-4th: Rogue Valley Timbers RVT Wright 1, Bend FC Timbers 02G Red 0.
U19 — Cascade Final: Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 99G Red 6, OFA 00G Scatter 0; Cascade 3rd-4th: Basin United G99 4, North State Soccer Missfits Renegades 00 3. Siskiyou/Sierra Finals: TFA Willamette Southside 1, NCU Elite G99 0; Cascade Rush Elites 1, Rogue Valley Timbers RVT 00G Black 1. Siskiyou/Sierra 3rd-4th: SOSA Pirates G99 2, Umpqua United 99G 1; Spanish Springs SC Lady Jaguars 00 14, Basin United G00 Crazy Cleats 0.
Reach reporter Joe Zavala at email@example.com.